Our next stop on the drive north through Africa took us to the country of Malawi, to the shores of Kande Beach. Pronounced just like candy, it is on the shores of Lake Malawi, which makes up the entire eastern border of Malawi and is the eigth largest lake in the world. We had a couple days ahead of us to relax, swim, and visit the local community primary school and hospital. There were a few long driving days between leaving Zambia and arriving in Kande, so we were excited to be off the truck and running around on the beach. The guys wanted to try to play some American Football, or as they call it, “gridiron”. They normally look at me like I have three heads if I ask them who people like Peyton Manning and Brett Favre are. Anyways, they picked it up pretty quickly except for interfering with receivers. They liked it much more when they could shove the receiver as hard as possible before the ball got to them. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m very grateful for their eagerness to learn about football.
After that, me and a couple of the guys took a canoe out to an island on the lake where we fished and did some *gulp* cliff diving. Now I don’t know if I would’ve actively suggested we go throwing ourselves from 30 feet or so into the lake, but once everybody else was getting ready, I didn’t have much of a chance to back out. It turned out to be a lot of fun, even though I was pretty freaked out the few moments before actually going through with it. There is video proof of this tremendous feat of grace and agility, but it will have to wait until a more reliable source of internet is available (have I mentioned internet is a bit sketchy in Africa yet?).
The next day we took a trip to local village of Kande and a few members of the local community gave us a tour of the primary school and hospital. The hospital had only three nurses and one doctor, who was twenty-one(!!!) years old. The entire “hospital” was a brick building with about six rooms in it. Although the situation sounds kind of rough, the building was in very good condition and according to the young doctor, they had the proper supplies needed to function properly on a day-to-day basis. The next stop was to see the primary school. Dana and I had an absolutely wonderful time meeting all of the kids, who were by far the most welcoming, spirited, and happiest people we have had the pleasure of being around on the entire trip so far. The kids would march right up to you, take your hand and guide you around the school area. It was basically recess for the entire time we were there, so that was fun. Taking pictures with our camera, then showing the kids their picture and seeing their faces light up was priceless. They would try to make all sorts of funny faces and poses, or use props like Dana’s sunglasses. The principal of the school made sure to give us an address where we could send the photos once we get back home so the kids could have them as a souvenir from when we visited.
By the end of the day, both Dana and I were exhausted from playing with the kids. They definitely had way more energy than us. Lucky for us, dinner that night was one of the dining highlights of the trip so far: a pig roast at our campsite on the beach. The man who helped arrange the pig was young local man named Rodger. He spends his time from May until August in his hometown of Kande doing jobs on the side to pay for his education. He is studying to be a lawyer and wants to work as an advocate for the poor within Malawi. We really enjoyed talking to him about the local culture and his ambitions later on in life, and hope to keep in touch with him for many years to come.
FUN FACT: Many of the young men in the town of Kande (especially the ones trying to sell carvings and paintings) take their name and add the first or last name of someone famous when they introduce themselves. During our visit, we met Austin Powers, Elton John, Sean Kingston, Spider Man, and Mr. Fantastic.